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> updated 22/10/09
Centennial Ring emblem

Centennial Ring emblem

There is something else which took the place of the World Crest for the BSA's 100th Anniversary, right?

Wrong. In 2007, the BSA designed a special World Crest emblem to signify the BSA's 100th Anniversary. It was REJECTED by the BSA's National Executive Board. The following year, a special "ring emblem" to go AROUND (technically it is "on top of") the World Crest emblem was designed, approved and distributed to the field. ANY SCOUT, VENTURER, VOLUNTEER OR PROFESSIONAL may wear the special 100th Anniversary Ring emblem with the World Crest (the World Crest may have to be moved upward to accommodate the wearing of square knot insignia or other special insignia worn on the left front of the field uniform shirt).


Adult Insignia Left Front Knot Emblem Devices

Devices on Square Knots

I literally enjoy getting personal email, helping Scouters out there to understand some of the Boy Scouts of America's many policies and practices. I especially enjoy the uniform questions, because it reflects their willingness to wear and display the insignia they have earned, are going to present to their youth or put on their son or daughter's uniforms with pride and care.

There is separate information on how to wear devices on the Training Award and Training Key knot emblems. That information is not contained on this page.

This page was prompted by a large amount of personal email to me as well as on the Scouts-L youth discussion list over the past two years. It seems that there's a large amount of confusion and "misinformation" about the usage of the various devices for the Youth Religious Emblem as well as in which combination do an Eagle Scout wear the Eagle Palms on the square knot.

This represents the latest information from the BSA Uniform and Insignia Committee as well as the Eagle Scout Service (August 1997, March 2008). If this information ever changes, it will be announced in the latest Insignia (Control) Guide and within established BSA literature and publications.

Let's talk about Religious Emblems first:

This forms the basis for the religious emblems program discussion:

Sue Moore wrote:

Now I am confused thoroughly. I was under the impression that the religious awards were earned through affiliation with the religious body and that the knot was a recognition from BSA of this award.

Nope. The "recognition" comes from the Church. The BSA has permitted TWO special square knots, created in the early 70s, to recognize a SCOUT'S personal achievement in earning a religious emblem and a SCOUTER'S personal service over an extended period of time to Scouting and to a particular church or church body.

The awards ARE NOT "BSA AWARDS"; they are awarded by the church body to the Scout or Scouter.

The material I have ordered is not BSA material but is recognized by BSA and GSUSA.

Correct. The religious award emblems are "recognized" by the Religious Relationships Service of the BSA. NOT ALL RELIGIOUS EMBLEMS (for instance, the Wiccan's Church's Crescent and Heart) are recognized. This doesn't mean that they cannot be earned; just that they *should not be worn* with the Scouting uniform. However, there's a loophole which allows ANY SCOUT or SCOUTER earning ANY religious emblem (even one which has NOT been earned as a Scout or Scouter, or one which isn't "recognized") to wear the ADULT or YOUTH religious SQUARE KNOT on the field uniforms. This came to light in 1980, when the Salvation Army asked to be "recognized" and at that time, the BSA refused it because "the Salvation Army isn't a religion". Well, the Sal Army PROVED that they were indeed a "religious body", but in the meantime, the BSA allowed Sal Army Scouts and Scouters to wear the knot instead of the ribbon bar of their religious emblem medal.

If a religion does not have a program the Cubs can earn a recognition, then maybe it is time for members of that religion to look into developing one. I know that I would never presume to create a program that would apply to any religious group but my own. So, perhaps it is not BSA's discrimination that is at question but rather the lack of a program.

The problem, Sue, is that as several members have mentioned here, the BSA looks at "religion" as something "traditional". It created the Universal Unitarian medal for churches which don't "belong to an established denomination". What they were NOT prepared for, were evangelical-based churches like the A.M.E. and F.M.E. (African and Free Methodist Evangelical) churches, like "Free Will" churches, and churches based on religious strenghts of national ministers like Robert Schuller (The Crystal Cathedral Bob Schuller, not the Scouter). Those churches and others wanted a religious medal just like the Baptists, the Catholics and the Hindu. So, the BSA went out of the "medal making business" and have asked church bodies that have relationships with the BSA to develop their own, and don't worry about "approvals". So they did, which made other Church bodies that don't have active relationships with the BSA VERY UPSET. Some even marched into the Religious Relationship's biannual meeting during the last National Council Meeting. It didn't help, because the bottom line is the BSA ONLY looks at "mainline, community-based, nationally-recognized churches". The AME churches are STILL upset and have yelled "racist" (the AME and FME churches are predominately black).

The BSA has steadfastly held their stand.

More information than perhaps you asked for, but I'm glad you posted your question.

Dave Sanderson wrote:

The answer as we understand it is that the Youth Religious Knot indicates that the boy has completed the requirements for one age/rank specific level of their faith. Only one knot is ever awarded.

That's absolutely correct, Dave!

Most, if not all, faiths have multiple levels. In the Catholic Faith, for example, Tiger Cubs and Wolf Scouts earn the "Light of Christ"; Bear and Webelos earn the "Parvuli Dei", and Boy Scouts have "Ad Altari >Dei" and one even higher!

Pope Pius XII is the Roman Catholic's Venturing and senior Scout religious emblem.

The first award is indicated by the knot.

Correct. Subsequent awards are indicated by a device, which if I remember correctly, is a gold circle.

Incorrect. A Cub, Scout or Venturer have two current options:

The first option is to simply wear the square knot with NO devices and during formal occasions, wear all of the religious awards earned.

Youth Religious Emblem with no devices

The second option is to wear the square knot with the approviate device (which are described on page 45 of the BSA's Insignia Guide) or devices which represent which level(s) the award was earned in.

Youth Religious Emblem with Cub Scout device

Shown above is a youth religious emblem with the Cub Scout device centered on the knot. If that Cub Scout later earns another emblem while either a Cub Scout or WEBELOS Cub Scout, he would wear the WEBELOS Cub Scout emblem as shown below or another Cub Scout device:

Youth Religious Emblem with Cub Scout and WEBELOS Cub Scout devices

The Youth Religious Emblem is one of several things which "converts" to the Boy Scout or Venturer uniform. When a Boy Scout earns the religious emblem of his faith as a Boy Scout, for instance, he wears the Cub Scout AND Boy Scout device together on the knot as shown:

Youth Religious Emblem with Cub Scout and Boy Scout devices

And if this Boy Scout becomes an Venturer, and earns the Exploring/older Scout version of his faith's religious emblem. he would wear the square knot with all three devices shown as below:

Youth Religious Emblem with Cub Scout, Boy Scout and Venturer devices

The "gold circle" your wife is referring to can either be the District Committee device (if you look closer, you'll see that a first class emblem is on the device!!) or the Commissioner's device (again, looking closer, you'll see that the gold circle is actually the wreath and "universal emblem" (the Tenderfoot emblem) emblematic of Commissioner service).

Devices for Various Square Knots

Jim copied the information from the Insignia Guide:
"The miniature device worn with the youth religious emblem square knot indicates emblem(s) earned as a youth. Wear Cub Scout device, No. 00926,(C) first-level emblem (God and Me, Maccabee) earned as a Tiger Cub or Cub Scout; Webelos Scout device, No. 00932, (K)for second-level emblem (God and Family, Parvuli Dei, Faith in God, Light of the World, Aleph, etc.) earned as a Webelos Scout; Boy Scout Device, No. 00927,(D) emblem earned as a Boy Scout; and/or Venturer device, No. 00930, (G) emblem earned as an Venturer or older Boy Scout or Varsity Scout. Only one knot is worn, but any combination of devices may be worn on the same knot."

(The other devices are (F) Commissioner and (H) District Committee.

This was originally written before the BSA decided to create a Varsity device and as much of the Insignia Guide goes, it's pasted from year to year with very little review.

There is a Varsity Scout device, No. 00928, which isn't even mentioned with regards to the religious emblem knot! It is shown in the above graphic in the center (VS)

It will be with the next version of the Insignia Guide, thanks to you and so many others that have discovered this "hole in the road".)

An Venturer, for example, and a member of the Catholic Church, for instance, may wear four devices on his square knot if he has had the opportunity to do so:

One for Cub Scout, WEBELOS Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Varsity Scout or Venturer. Don't know how all four can be worn, but it's possible!

So we can take from this that a Scout who earns a religious emblem may wear the youth religious emblem knot on his uniform at any time, with a device indicating the level he was registered in when he earned the emblem. There is not a restriction as to not wearing the device while still in the same level/program area (i.e., A Wolf earns the emblem, he is able to wear the Cub Scout device while still a Wolf or Bear, as well as later on).

Absolutely. Even when he's a WEBELOS Cub Scout, he can still wear the knot with the Cub device on it.

An adult wears the youth knot if he earned a religious emblem as a youth member, and may wear any device to indicate all emblems earned in the various programs. The adult knot is worn ONLY for religious emblems earned while an adult, and NO device is worn as it may only be earned at the adult level.

Not so true with regards to the adult knot. Many faiths have established their tie-tac or lapel pin which can be worn with the adult knot to denote which award(s) he or she have earned. It is NOT a national policy, however, and there's lots of Council execs out there that will tell you that "just getting it is something; let's not confuse it all by wearing one for the Baptist award, and another for the Catholic award (which there are two)."

Your local Council is the best determinator on that part, Jim.

Now, let's talk about the Eagle Scout Palms.

Eagle Scout is the highest Boy Scout advancement within the Boy Scout program. As part of the requirements for Eagle, a Boy Scout or Varsity Scout must earn at least 21 merit badges, including some merit badges which come from a listing of 15 required merit badges in 11 catagories.

After the attainment of the Eagle Scout Badge, a Boy Scout or Varsity Scout can continue to earn Eagle Palms in Bronze, Gold and Silver for earning additional merit badges and completion of leadership and service tenure in a unit. Merit badges may be earned at ANY TIME, not just after the Scout earns Eagle. In other words, a Scout that have attained 38 merit badges before becoming an Eagle Scout may use 21 of them for Eagle; the next five for his Bronze Palm, the next five for his Gold Palm, the next five for his Silver Palm and have the other two left over for the next Palm.

Shown below is the Eagle Scout square knot worn by Scouters 18 years of age or older. The Eagle Scout cloth badge are worn by Scouts younger than 18 with the Palm(s) worn on the badge in the same manner as shown on the knot here (therefore, I won't be showing the Eagle Badge itself)

Eagle Scout Square Knot

This is how the Eagle Scout knot with Bronze Palm (for five merit badges) is worn; the direction of the Palm makes no difference:

Eagle Scout Square Knot with Bronze Palm

This is how the Eagle Scout knot with Gold Palm (for ten merit badges) is worn; again, the direction of the Palm makes no difference:

Eagle Scout Square Knot

This is the how the Eagle Scout knot with Silver Palm (for fifteen merit badges) is worn; again, the direction of the Palm makes no difference:

Eagle Scout Square Knot

If you've noticed, only ONE Palm, the highest palm earned is worn. After earning the Silver Palm, Scouts can continue to earn Palms for five additional merit badges. Here's how the Silver and Bronze Palms, representing 20 merit badges over Eagle is worn:

Eagle Scout Square Knot

This is how the Silver and Gold Palms are worn, representing 25 merit badges over Eagle; again, the direction of the Palms do not matter:

Eagle Scout Square Knot

And this is how two Silver Palms are worn, representing 30 merit badges over Eagle are displayed on both the knot and the Badge:

Eagle Scout Square Knot

Additional sets of Palms in Bronze, Gold and Silver are worn in the same manner as those shown above for 35, 40 and 45 merit badges; for 50, 55 and 60 merit badges; and for 65, 70, and 75 merit badges.

The Eagle Scout that goes "above and beyond" the expectations of the "typical Eagle Scout" should be honored; in the same way, those Scouts and Scouters that choose to explore their faith as part of their participation in Scouting should be similarily honored. By insuring that they wear the special devices for their awards properly, we as Scouters insure that others will do more than honor them for their special work; others will look at the special devices and say "WOW!!!!! How did you get that!!!!


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